<span class="vcard">Mike Halford</span>

Still perfect: Price stones Rangers, Habs move to 5-0


With a storied franchise like Montreal, records don’t get set very often.

Which made Thursday night pretty special.

For the first time in franchise history the Habs are off to a 5-0 start, courtesy a 3-0 win over the Rangers at the Bell Centre.

Carey Price stopped all 24 shots faced for his first shutout of the year, continuing a string of impressive play which has seen him record four wins in four tries this season, not allowing more than two goals in a single outing.

One of those 24 saves, of course, was the jaw-dropper on Rick Nash in the video above.

Not bad.

Price wasn’t the only Canadien with a strong performance on the night. Tomas Fleischmann potted the game-winner midway through the middle frame — his second goal of the year — while Dale Weise and Tomas Plekanec added the insurance markers, the latter an empty-netter.

For the Rangers, tonight’s game marks the second in a row where the offense sputtered.

The club wasted a great effort from Henrik Lundqvist (29 saves on 31 shots) and now has just one goal over its last 120 minutes, scored way back in the first period of Tuesday’s loss to Winnipeg.

Of course, that lack of offensive output isn’t all on New York.

They’ve faced some good goaltending over the last two games, starting with Michael Hutchinson two nights ago and continuing with Price this evening.

As for Montreal, the club is riding a high.

Price is playing up to his usual high standards, the offense is being spread around nicely (eight different players have scored now) and history bodes well. Per CBC, the last three Montreal teams to start the year 4-0 went on to win the Stanley Cup — so in that light, this 5-0 start could be the beginning of something special.

Tough night: Tampa rules out Hedman after Benn hit (Video)


Thursday’s proving to be a lousy night for the Bolts.

Having already lost d-man Nikita Nesterov — he was tossed for an ugly hit from behind — the Lightning are now without the services of Victor Hedman, who was ruled out after taking a bit hit from Dallas captain Jamie Benn.

The hit occurred in the second period and Hedman exited immediately. Benn wasn’t penalized on the play, and Tampa Bay officially ruled out Hedman’s return midway through the third.

While the club didn’t release the nature of his injury or severity, it’s worth pointing out that Hedman has a history with concussions, missing 13 games with one during the ’11-12 campaign.

Pens bump slump, down Sens for first win of the year

Patric Hornqvist, Craig Anderson

All’s well in Pittsburgh — for tonight, anyway.

After an 0-3 start to the year, the Penguins got their first win of the season on Thursday, downing the Ottawa Senators 2-0 at Consol.

All of Pittsburgh’s offense came in a three-minute burst to open the second period. Evgeni Malkin scored his first goal, and point, of the year at the 23-second mark, followed by rookie Daniel Sprong netting the first of his NHL career just over two minutes later.

Marc-Andre Fleury stopped all 22 shots faced for the shutout.

This was, as far as 2-0 games go, a pretty comprehensive victory.

Pittsburgh out-shot the Sens by 14, and limited Ottawa to just five shots in the final period. And it wasn’t just Malkin that bumped his scoring slump; Patric Hornqvist, Kevin Porter and Matt Cullen also recorded their first points of the season.

Of course, there’s one notable Penguin that remains scoreless: Sidney Crosby.

Pittsburgh can look past that for now, though, as it relishes a pretty important win. The Pens definitely didn’t want to fall to 0-4, especially with three more games left in this current five-game homestand.

For the Sens, Thursday’s game is one they’ll want to forget. The offense dried up in a major way, especially after scoring seven times against Columbus on Wednesday.

Ottawa also went 0-for-3 on the power play, after scoring four PPGs in its last three games.

Ring the alarm: Caps dump ‘Hawks in Ovi’s lineup return

Alex Ovechkin

Looks like Washington got the message.

Just two days after an ugly 5-0 loss — which captain Alex Ovechkin missed because he overslept for the morning skate — the Caps rebounded in style, beating the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks 4-1 at Verizon.

Ovechkin was his usual dynamic self — nearly 20 minutes of ice time, a goal, team-high six shots on net — but it was his running mates that proved the difference against Chicago.

T.J. Oshie scored his first goal as a Capital and finished with two points; John Carlson continued his red-hot start to the season with a goal and assist of his own, and now has four points in his first three games.

For Chicago, tonight’s game will be one to forget.

The team’s lone goal was scored by first-year defenseman Viktor Svedberg, who also fired a team-high four shots on net.

That in itself should tell the story.

Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews mustered just half that total with one shot a piece, and the ‘Hawks registered a mere five shots in the third period (which they went into trailing only 2-0.)

It’ll be interesting to see how the defending champs rebound from this. After back-to-back wins over the Islanders on the weekend, Chicago has now dropped two straight and managed just one goal.

Washington, meanwhile, has some much-needed confidence heading into the last of its four-game home stand, which ends Saturday against Carolina.

Video: Oshie scores his first as a Capital


One of Washington’s biggest offseason acquisitions has hit the scoresheet.

T.J. Oshie, acquired this summer from St. Louis, scored his first goal as a Capital on Thursday night, giving Washington a 1-0 lead over the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks.

The goal, scored on the power play, came in Oshie’s third game for Washington and was his first¬† since Mar. 15 of last season, snapping a fairly lengthy 13-game scoreless streak in the process.

(Oshie also went cold during the Blues’ opening-round playoff loss to Minnesota, failing to find the back of the net in the first five games before eventually netting one in the series-deciding Game 6 loss.)

John Carlson and Evgeny Kuznetsov notched helpers on the Oshie goal. It was Kuznetsov’s first point of the year.